Fotokemika Ceases Production, Affects Efke/ADOX

Fotokemika in Croatia has effectively ceased production of their films and papers, affecting Efke and ADOX products. Efke films and papers are completely shut down, but there's some hope for ADOX films.

Mirko Boeddecker from Fotoimpex (Germany) shares the bad news:

Efke is ceasing production voluntarily because they cannot make money in selling film and papers anymore. Market prices are way to low for silver based products since about 5 years, especially if your products contain a lot of silver. Many of our ambitious projects stalled because of this as well. Repairing the machine is not an option because it makes no economic sense to continue the production after the repair has been done. Not because it can´t be done or there would be no money available (this is simplifying things a bit but in general this is true).

We are not moving their production anywhere. This sad news has hit us suddenly and all we do at this point is thinking about ways what possibly could be done now to deal with the situation. Our stocks will be depleted in about 2 months.

One option is to manufacture a similar film on a small scale with modern technology at a higher price. If it sells at this price, production is sustainable. This is only possible in our very small factory which we built from pieces of the former Agfa research dept. We are talking quantities here which are a fraction of what efke did and needed to do in order to support their operation in the size it was. They were small compared to Ilford and Kodak but are also quite large compared to us. For efke this is not an option because on a higher price level turnover will fall and both will lead to the same outcome: Not being able to recover running costs from sales or even think about profit.

Of course, this also affects ADOX products:

All CHS films, Nuance and Vario Classic.

Vario Classic can fully be replaced by MCC which is actually better. Nuance was a graded paper and thus cannot be fully replaced by MCC or Polywarmtone if/when we make it again but MCC can be developed to a similar tone in ADOTOL WA. Also the highlight differentiation of Nuance and MCC are almost equal if you filter MCC acordingly. The lithability of Nuance was very good. If you used the paper for lith printing Polywarmtone will be the repelacement.

As for the films we plan to bring a replacement for the low speed films and a 100 ASA version. The 100 ASA film will come first and be made available in the same selection of formats except 127. We hope to be able to supply without an interruption here.

Freestyle Photo had already shared some of the news with us in the recent "Industry Snapshot - August 2012" newsletter:

One bit of industry-product related news we need to report is the discontinuation of Fotokemika Emaks and Varycon black and white photographic papers by the manufacturer in Croatia. Efke brand films will continue to be produced for the foreseeable future but paper production from this factory will cease. This is due to the coating machinery no longer being economically repairable due to age and current manufacturing volume. While this is sad news, we are continuing dialog with the Fotokemika factory and working with them to acquire as much of Emaks and Varycon paper that they have left to keep this product in stock as long as possible.

In case you're wondering, Freestyle Photo currently (as of 9:30AM EST on August 29th) has 57 rolls of CMSII in 135 left. We know, because we just bought some - along with a dozen rolls of CHS 25.